Get Happier by Writing it Down


By Natalie Bauta

Do you own a journal? Is writing an outlet for you? If not, it is something to consider.

Stress, doubts and overthinking are common among college students. Expressive writing is a method of releasing those suppressed thoughts or coming to terms with mental images you repeatedly obsess over in your head.

A study performed by Stanford researchers focused on a group of African-American students struggling in adjusting to college, and they were asked to either write an essay or create a video on college life for future students to see.

“Students who took part in the writing or video received better grades in the ensuing months than those in the control group,” according to the New York Times article.

According to a study by a University of Texas psychology professor James Pennebaker, it expressive writing can improve mood disorders and even boost your memory.

In one of Pennebaker’s experiments, college students wrote for 15 minutes a day about either a personal issue or superficial topic. They were fewer visits to the student health center and illnesses among those who wrote about personal issues.

“I think of expressive writing as a life course correction,” Dr. Pennebaker said.

University of Virginia psychology professor Timothy D. Wilson said, “These writing interventions can really nudge people from a self-defeating way of thinking into a more optimistic cycle that reinforces itself.”

Writing is a form of self-reflection. Self-reflection is a step towards wearing away those negative feelings and converting them into something positive. If writing is a way to come to terms with personal problems, then perhaps it is a hobby young adults should take on.

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